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Weather Channels' Meterologist Kim Perez story on her first hand encounter with a F5 tornado in Sayler Park, Ohio












Sayler Park, Ohio

Sayler Park, Ohio was ravaged by one of the six F5 tornado's that occurred on April 3, 1974. Melissa Humphrey has been kind enough to donate photos taken by her family. The following is written by Melissa Humphrey. Please remember if you use any pictures for reports to give credit to Melissa Humphrey.

My grandparents, Earl and Elizabeth Morehead, had a marina, Morehead Boat Harbor, located directly across the river from Sayler Park, Ohio.  By the time of the tornado, it was a fairly large operation, with a restaurant, a dock, and winter storage facilities for the boats.  Their son, Robert Morehead, and his wife Glenna, with their 4 children, lived in a home located a few hundred yards to the right of my grandparents.  About an 1/8 of a mile to the left of my grandparents home was the home of their daughter June, and her husband Cecil Kenyon.  They had 3 children, but only one was still living at home at the time of the tornado.  My families' home was located about a half a mile away, on another hill separated from the one on which the rest of the family lived, and located directly about the small town of Taylorsport, Kentucky.  My parents are Virgil and Peggy Humphrey.  My mother still lives there (my father died in 1981).
A note as to the damage:  My grandparents house and my aunt June's house were completely destroyed.  There were approximately 4 storage sheds for the boats, basic constructions of sheet metal and metal girders.  It's hard to remember how many there were after 30 years; I was nine at the time of the tornado.  I'll try to remember to send a before picture.  My uncle Bob's home sustained damage to the garage only; and the neighbors to the left of my aunt June's home had damage to the side of their house.  As far as the damage goes, when you see the pictures, it will look very much the same as destruction seen in Oklahoma or Texas resulting from F5 tornadoes.  My aunt June's house was basically reduced to a foundation and a basement.  One other remarkable feat the tornado performed was lifting a very large barge on which the restaurant was built, flipping it over, and sending it on its way downstream, where it was raised about a month after the tornado.
This view of the tornado itself was taken from across the river, east of Sayler Park.  The tornado, we decided, after examining the picture, was just about to strike my Aunt June's home in this picture.  You can see that it is still fairly light-colored; after crossing the river (when I got a good look at it, from our house, which is located on the hill to the left of the tornado), the tornado was a muddy-river color.  You can see that it's developing a wedge shape.  This same storm dropped a small vortice to the left of our house, which went spottily through the small town of Taylorsport below our house, before dissipating.  This view of the tornado would be about 2-3 minutes before reaching the Ohio side of the river and Sayler Park.
View of the damage to my Aunt June's house.........the landing in the center of the picture is where she, her husband, and son, got to just before the tornado struck........My aunt had a bruise on her arm in the shape of a handprint for a couple of weeks after; apparently she had started to rise in the air, and my uncle grabbed hold of her to keep her in the basement.  They said they could see blue sky at one point, we think the eye of the tornado passed directly over their house, and therefore, the most destructive winds............
This view of the tornado was taken from Hebron, Kentucky (located above our house on the hill behind - its where the Greater Cincinnati Airport is located; this picture would have been taken approximately 5 miles from the airport).  We figured later that this was about the time the tornado was in Sayler Park and headed for the western hills community of Mack, on the hills above Sayler Park
One of the bigger ironies of the situation.............the boat's name, registered in the port of Cincinnati, O. is the "Impossible Dream"........................
A good view of the damage to the trees behind my aunt's house
This is a picture of the boat harbor, pre-tornado.  The white house in the center is my grandparents' home; the brick house to the right is my Uncle Bob's home. My Aunt June's house is located approximately to the left of the 2nd and 3rd sheds (behind my grandparents' house; it is obscured by the summertime trees).  The harbor is in the foreground, and extended approximately the same length to the right beyond the restaurant, the large white structure to the extreme right front of the picture.
Raising and righting the restaurant...........an idea of the scale of the barge can be gotten from the man standing on the deck to the right.............It had floated a few miles downstream, as I remember.............
View of the damage from the road below my grandparents' house (Ky. Route 8)


This is a good image of the amount of sheet metal that was wrapped around everything.........There was a great deal of gasoline (from the boats) on everything......A great deal of the debris ended up being burned.................
This is a wide shot of what was left (seriously) of my aunt's house..............As you can see, the tornado was tossing cars around, as usual............


Damage to my grandparents' house